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Formula One (also known as Formula 1 or F1) is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and owned by the Formula One Group. The World Drivers' Championship, which became the FIA Formula One World Championship in 1981, has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950. The word "formula" in the name refers to the set of rules to which all participants' cars must conform. A Formula One season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix (French for ''grand prizes' or 'great prizes''), which take place worldwide on purpose-built circuits and on public roads.
The results of each race are evaluated using a points system to determine two annual World Championships: one for drivers, the other for constructors. Drivers must hold valid Super Licences, the highest class of racing licence issued by the FIA. The races must run on tracks graded "1" (formerly "A")
Formula One cars are the fastest regulated road-course racing cars in the world, owing to very high cornering speeds achieved through the generation of large amounts of aerodynamic downforce. The cars underwent major changes in 2017, allowing wider front and rear wings, and wider tyres, resulting in peak cornering forces near 6.5 lateral g and top speeds of up to approximately 350 km/h (215 mph). As of 2019 the hybrid engines are limited in performance to a maximum of 15,000 rpm, the cars are very dependent on electronics and aerodynamics, suspension and tyres. Traction control and other driving aids have been banned since 2008.